Germany says hopes Italy will soon form 'stable government'

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He says Italy urgently needs to deal with the high level of youth unemployment, high taxation and public spending, as well as immigration.

The euro appeared to shrug off the result, remaining broadly unchanged after the initial exit poll result in spite of indications that a hung parliament was likely.

Official results for the election to the 630-member Chamber of Deputies, and the 320-seat Senate, which have identical powers, but are voted in by a different franchise and rules, are expected on Monday.

Several coalition prospects have been touted, including Forza Italia attempting a grand coalition with the Democratic Party in a continuation of the current government.

Sunday's election to choose a new government comes just two months after Italian President Sergio Mattarella dissolved the country's parliament on December 28.

Analysts long said it was unclear who would emerge victorious, according to the BBC.

Early results suggest a hung parliament dominated by the Eurosceptic, anti-immigrant right, with voters delivering a bloody nose to the governing Democratic Party (PD). The emotional debate over immigration and a lackluster economy is prominent in the election, and voters have a range of choices on the left and the right.

The sluggish economic recovery and the migration crisis, which saw more than 600,000 migrants from Africa and the Middle East landed in Italy over the past four years, led to widespread dissatisfaction with the political elite and a desire for change.

"Everybody will have to come talk to us", said Five-Star senior leader Alessandro Di Battista.

Italy's election is shaping up to be a tight battle between three of Italy's most popular parties.

While the Five Star Movement (M5S) took the largest single share with 31% of the vote, it's unclear who they might wish to join in a coalition.

She told EUobserver that while "Salvini is one of the two winners" of the vote, along Di Maio, "it is still unlikely that he will be prime minister", because his coalition will not have enough seats.

With the majority of ballots from Sunday's vote counted, the eurosceptic Lega Nord ("Northern League") led by Matteo Salvini was leading the dominant right-wing coalition with 37 percent of the vote.

"There was momentum for 5-Star in the final days of the campaign, but it is hard to see any party or coalition getting the 40 per cent needed to form a government", said Lorenzo Pregliasco, co-founder of YouTrend pollsters.

Barred from holding office because of a tax fraud conviction, he has put forward European Parliament President Antonio Tajani as his prime ministerial nominee.

The ruling centre-left lost ground, with Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party 's failure to win a fifth of the votes described by the La Repubblica newspaper as a psychological blow.